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Table 2 Basic distribution characteristics and administrative information of included systematic reviews (the HTA data were collected for this study; all other data are from Page et al. [1], i.e. the data collected for 300 systematic reviews for a single month in 2004 and 2014)

From: Nature and reporting characteristics of UK health technology assessment systematic reviews

Characteristic 2004 n = 300 [1] HTA 2004 n = 23 HTA 2014 n = 30 Cochrane 2014 n = 45 [1] 2014 n = 300 [1]
Number of authors: Median and range a 4 (1- > 7) 4 (2–8) b 4 (1–9) b 4 (3–6) 5 (4–6)
Update of previous SR - (18%) 1 (4) 2 (7) 25 (56%) 31 (10%)
Type of SR
Therapeutic 213 (71%) 16 (70%) 16 (53%) 45 (100%) 164 (55%)
Diagnostics / prognostics 23 (8%) 5 (22%) 10 (34%) 0 33 (11%)
Epidemiology 38 (13%) 2 (8%) 1 (3%) 0 74 (25%)
Other (incl. methodological) 46 (15%) 0 3 (10%) 0 29 (10%)
Type of intervention
Pharmacological - (47%) 13 (57%) 6 (20%) 23 (51%) 76/164 (46%)
Non-pharmacological - (38%) 3 (13%) 13 (43%) 17 (38%) 75/164 (46%)
Both NR 1 (4%) 2 (7%) 5 (11%) 13/164 (8%)
Not applicable (e.g. diagnostic test) NR 6 (26%) 9 (30%) 0 0
Reporting guideline cited NR 5/23 (24%) 19/30 (63%)c 1 (2%) 87 (29%)
Cochrane methods used NR 1/23 (4%) 4/30 (13%) 45 (100%) 138 (46%)
Number of included studies 16 (1–170) [1–84] 0–200 9 (4–17) 15 (8–25)
Number of included participants reported 1112 2 only (2905–3909) 5 only (201–34,082) 1113 (421–2751) 2072 (672–8033)
Empty review (no eligible studies) NR 0 2 (7%) 3 (7%) 4 (1%)
Meta-analysis performed - (54%) 11 (48%) 15 (50%) 32 (71%) 189 (63%)
Number of studies included in largest meta-analysis NR 4–17 (n = 11) 2–35 (n = 15) 6 (3–11) 9 (6–17)
Harms considered (excluding empty / diagnostic reviews; treatment reviews only) - (75%) 15/16 (94%) 10/14 (71%) 41 (91%) 113/164 (69%)
Economics (i.e. costs) considered - (24%) 0d 0d 7 (16%) 23/172 (13%)
SR or Meta-analysis mentioned in title / abstract - (50%) 23 (100%) 30 (100%) 15 (33%) 254 (85%)
Review registered NR 0/23 (0%) 23/30 (77%) 0 (0%) 12 (4%)
Protocol available NR 4/23 (17%) 27/30 (90%) 44 (98%) 49 (16%)
Protocol mentioned but not available NR 7/23 (30%) 1/30 (3%) NR NR
Conflicts of Interests reported
Review authors NR 23 (100%) 30/30 (100%) 45 (100%) 260 (87%)
Included studies’ authors NR 6/23 (26%) 12/28 (43%) 13/42 (31%) 21/296 (7%)
Source of funding
Not for profit - (48%) 23 (100%) 30/30 (100%) 38 (84%) 142 (47%)
For profit - (2%) 0 0 0 (0%) 8 (3%)
Mixed - (6%) 0 0 0 (0%) 2 (1%)
No funding - (1%) 0 0 5 (11%) 39 (13%)
Not reported - (41%) 0 0 2 (4%) 109 (36%)
  1. HTA Health Technology Assessment; aInterquartile range for non-Health Technology Assessment data; bIncluding information specialists, who are sometimes not listed as an author, but appear in the Acknowledgements; cSome cite a combination of guidelines, e.g. PRISMA and York Centre for Reviews and Dissemination (CRD) guidance; dEach clinical systematic review was accompanied by a separate cost-effectiveness systematic review and economic model; NR Nor reported